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Monday, June 14, 2004



I didn't think much of Florida to begin with, now even less. The more I read this, the more incredulous I became. I hope that the few lawmakers who actually try to create laws that help people instead of the ones with the dollars and connections, can succeed in fixing this. Thanks for posting it.


More on dyslexia ripoffs.
Vouchers Become Subsidy"

Beach Post Editorial
Saturday, May 22, 2004

Florida's voucher programs have crossed the line at which the pretense of helping students ends and the real goal of enriching private schools becomes clear.

As The Post reported this week, private schools that take McKay vouchers to teach disabled students originally could not charge tuition in excess of the vouchers. But in 2001, a private school operator who takes the disabled-student vouchers lobbied for a change that has blown away the cap.

The change was made so stealthily that most lawmakers didn't notice. But the effect is clear. Parents of disabled students have to pay more -- thousands more, in some cases -- and the private schools can reap correspondingly higher incomes.

Patricia Hardman, who runs a private school in Tallahassee, is behind the change. Tuition at her school, which takes McKay vouchers, rose from $4,700 in 2001 -- the voucher limit at the time -- to $7,500 this year and will hit $10,000 next year, when the voucher will be up to about $5,100. In addition to tuition that exceeds the voucher, parents must pay $550 to have their children tested at Ms. Hardman's for-profit diagnostic center.

As voucher proponents such as Floridians for School Choice readily admit, their ultimate goal is a voucher that every student can take to whatever school the parents choose. While that might sound like equality, in practice, vouchers under such a system would provide a subsidy for private schools and wealthier parents. Public schools and some private schools would accept the voucher as full tuition. But many private schools simply would increase tuition, perhaps passing a share of the publicly provided windfall back to the parents. Any scheme, such as that one, that gives public money to every child who attends private school either will force a big increase in taxes or -- more likely -- a big reduction in budgets for regular public schools serving families that can't afford the extra private school tuition.

Rather than view the 2001 change in McKay voucher rules as a scam to be stopped, lawmakers this year ignored even more obvious abuses in both the McKay and corporate-tax voucher programs, failing to pass minimal financial and academic reforms.

"Brokers" siphoned off McKay money meant for disabled students. Students received both corporate and McKay vouchers. One private school operator took $268,000 in corporate vouchers without enrolling students. Yet lawmakers didn't act. The only good news is that if they need even worse outrages before they act, the state's failure to provide voucher accountability is likely to produce them.

Lisa Raulerson

If you look at the whole picture dyslexic is a brain malfunction and no one shouls have to go pay to have there chils tested. The public schools pyscologist can't even find so why pay them a tutor that worked for thr dyslexic institute found my sons thank god and but still I have to pay all that money to have it on paper to get more money for the John McKay. What about the federal law that states all children with dyslexia are to be accomidated at there school public schools for there needs even if they have to bring in someone with the knowledge to teach them. Now Floida is an exception we don't do that ok screw us a little more were is all the money going from the lottery that is to be for schools and then in Hillsborough county you give a raise to the head lady of 65000 a year but now you need to cut budgets. How are we an axception from a federal law pay someone and you can save on scholarships and don't cut teachers, cut the head lady salary she is not teaching or put her in a class room.

Cynthia E. Cuenin

I am not thrilled with the cost of education at Woodland Hall.However public schools in our state do not even recognize Dyslexia, nor do they have one single test for it!!! My daughter has litteraly a genius IQ, yet is in first grade in our public school, and has handwrittig of a kindergartener.. We spend hours a night on homework , she hates school! That's not what any parent wants to hear! Crying throgh every semester.... Remember she's got 11 years to go, think she's ever want to even think about college??? We put her in summer school at Woodland Hall, at our exspenses, no vouchers!!! Yes it's alot of money! We scraped the bottom of the barrell to do it!! Guess what?! Her second day home from Woodland Hall, and she has beutiful handwritting, two weeks in, and she's picking up books, and reading to us! Her self confidence has exploded!! So far she's doing math not even slated until second grade! Here's my read on this situation. . WHY IS OUR PUBLIC SCHOOLS NOT EVEN ACKNOWLEDGING even the existing if Dyslexia? It is covered under The American with Disabillities Act!!! Maybe Dr. Hardman is making a windfall on these kids, but I have no doubt what she can do for them. My niece graduated from there, and is almost through with her Bachelors in guess what? Teaching special needs kids. Would have been a drop out not for Woodland Hall! So here's a challenge, let the state provide these kids with a "fair and equal education". I thought that was a right, a federal law?
Think of these stats , roughly 15% of our population is Dyslexic, who generally has an above to greater than above average intelligence. Educate them well, watch them graduate, what could that do to our drop out percents, alot of these kids dropout.. Think it mat be worth saving those??? This is a huge wrong by our state!! So until the state educates our children, those of us with some means will have to pay through the nose for what we are legally supposed to recieve from our state!
For now, all we can afford is summer school, praying that it will suppliment her to make it through the public school in the fall... Can't argue with results, and we have seen them in a very short period of time!!!
Sincerly, Cynthia E. Cuenin, Grand Ridge, FL

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